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The Foundenergy project

Insight into the foundries processes: the FOUNDENERGY project comes to its conclusion

Roughly one month before its formal completion, the FOUNDENERGY project led by Tecnalia in Spain, is finalising the validation phase with three demonstrators. Launched as a Capacity project in the SMEs associations scheme, the project has gone deep in studying efficiency problems and bottlenecks within the foundry and metal industry.

“All in all – explains Ane Irazustabarrena Murgiondo, coordinator of the project – we are quite satisfied with the results we have achieved. We are reaching what can be defined now according to the new H2020 terminology, a TRL 6 for the demonstrator we will run within our facilities demonstrating the whole system with a shell and tube heat exchanger, able to recover gases up to 350ºC, combined with an ORC to generate electricity. The foundry environment is actually very complex and full measurements were not feasible in the framework of our project. So as an alternative we developed realistic simulation, in particular on temperatures and gas particles, checking corrosion, wear resistance and overall performance of the heat exchanger, which we believe can be perfectly extrapolated”.

The FOUNDENERGY project actually tried different approaches to adapt to the needs of distinct foundries. “In the UK, at Saint Gobain, where we can work in a real industrial environment, we use a heat pipe to test what efficiency gains we could generate. We are also proposing an ORC in the range of 200-250° though there is a bit of uncertainty whether we will be able to demonstrate electricity production in the whole system, due to technical characteristics of the demonstration factory. Finally, we are also organising a demonstration by our Croatian partners, with a serpentine bundle, which is going to be shown at the industry days in Cimos”.

FOUNDENERGY has natural links with REEMAIN and several commonalities in its approach to optimise energy efficiency, also by looking at a partial recovery of the heat, which is of course one of the areas where the potential for optimisation is higher. “The innovation we have brought about - continues Ane - is among others that we did very analytical testing on coating solutions and have been quite good at adapting solutions to the specific needs of industrial environments that, needless to say, change from case to case. On the other hand, we have also encountered scalability issues and with the technologies we deploy, we definitely need large scale plants and processes to generate relevant gains”. A challenge that Tecnalia will soon take up with a new project, called TASIO, focusing on mature technologies for continuous process industries like cement. “This will be much closer to the market – says Ane – and will hopefully present partners with clear exploitation opportunities at the end of the work”. Three years from January 2015, enough to establish a fruitful exchange of information and experience with the REEMAIN group.